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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this reality series is about manipulation and mind games. Participants regularly lie, confront each other, and critique individual differences. Some are labeled and treated as outcasts after their dark secrets are revealed. Tweens, like adults, may have a voyeuristic fascination with this bizarre experience, but seeing participants fall to pieces and express extreme anger with others will be hard for younger viewers to watch.
What's the story?
In reality show UNAN1MOUS, nine strangers are locked in a bunker, cut off from the outside world until they can unanimously decide which one of them should win $1.5 million. If they can't agree, not only does the money start ticking away, but a dark secret is revealed about one contestant. That person -- who can no longer win but is still able to participate in the voting -- is branded an outcast and must don a dark jumpsuit emblazoned with a symbolic \"X.\" The bunker space is cold, high-tech, and sterile, and a woman's voice comes on the loudspeaker telling contestants when to get up, eat, and attend meetings, and the show's host makes appearances via a video screen. Participants vote using an orb-like device and then roll down a hole.
Is it any good?
Like many other reality shows, Unan1mous is about strategy. Participants say that they'll vote for a certain deserving person -- such as the 42-year-old truck driver who has worked hard since the age of 20 to provide a decent life for his wife and kids -- but then someone will secretly change his or her vote, and hopes are dashed before our eyes. Other contestants lie about their personal circumstances in an attempt to influence the vote (for example, one participant tells the others that he has cancer). Most of the participants just want out of the bunker -- but if anyone leaves, the money will automatically be cut in half, thus changing the outcome for the others.
Contestants need communication, perception, and flexibility to get along with their fellow bunkermates. These are important qualities for tweens (and teens) to learn about, but watching participants cry into the camera saying that they miss their families is too sad for younger viewers to bear.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether it's ever OK to resort to the kind of manipulation showcased in this series. Since this is a game, is it OK to use lying as a strategy, or does that cross an ethical boundary? Families can also discuss the challenge of living in close quarters with others who share different views on life. Good communication skills are imperative to make this not only a successful experience, but a sane one. How can you keep the peace and keep your own viewpoints intact at the same time?